BLOG POST

More on Slicks and Risks

David Roberts in Grist has a slightly different spin on the dangers of environmentally risky technologies (e.g. deep offshore drilling). Because there is no way that companies could obtain insurance to compensate them for ALL  liabilities in case of an accident, liability limits such as the one for offshore oil drilling (and the similar Price-Anderson Act limitations for nuclear power plants) represent massive taxpayer subsidies, and, by extension, massive market distortions.

And while I wouldn't go so far as to liken the situation to fascism, as Roberts does, the dynamic in which the owners or would-be builders of big, centralized energy solutions wield more power than advocates of smaller, decentralized solutions seems right. Just compare the political sway held by the nuclear industry - which hasn't actually built anything in the U.S. for decades - and, say, the solar industry.